One of the world’s biggest floating openair swimming pools will open on the Eilandje in Antwerp, Belgium at the Kattendijkdok in mid-August. The pool, with a total length of 120 meters (394 feet), can accommodate 600 people and consists of a swim basin, two event venues, several floors and a restaurant with a lounge terrace. 'Badboot' was designed by architect Pieter Peerlings and Silvia Mertens of Sculp(IT) Architecten, known for the narrowest house in Antwerp (remember this incredibly popular Showcase Feature on Archinect?).
Project Description from the Architects:
Outdoor swimming pools that float on the city’s canals or rivers are familiar to us from Berlin and Copenhagen. But the Badboot cannot be compared with these two European predecessors in any sense. The Badboot is much bigger, can be moved to another site and will be open throughout the year. Every summer for the next ten years, the platform will be able to welcome bathers in Antwerp’s docks and the swimming pool will be an ice rink in winter. You will also be able to enjoy winter barbecues and winter sports activities (such as curling) on the Badboot.
It also has a restaurant with a lounge deck that will be run by top chefs of Fiskebar, the popular restaurant at Antwerp Zuid. Events can be organised every day of the year in the two event rooms and there is plenty of parking space.
This makes the Badboot the perfect location for organising product launches, office parties, seminars and private events throughout the year.
The deck is open to everybody: for barely 4 euros a swim, Antwerpers can enjoy the revolutionary outdoor swimming pool on water. ‘The Badboot is a perfect complement to the existing urban outdoor pools in Antwerp’, thinks Maarten Dieryck of the City of Antwerp. ‘Having no more than two outdoor swimming pools in the city, we have a dire shortage of opportunities to enjoy water sports in the open air. This project will provide the axis of the development of Antwerp Docklands. That’s why we believe this is a brilliant project.’
It should be clear that the Badboot is a full-fledged leisure platform for the city and not a push barge that happened to be converted to a swimming pool, like elsewhere in Europe. The platform is unique in the world as regards both size and facilities and its potential to use it in all seasons. This is a scoop for the Scheldt port, which again proves its reputation as a cool metropolis.
Facts & Figures:
- 120 m: the entire length of the Badboot. With several levels and a capacity to accommodate 600 people, this gigantic project makes it one of the biggest outdoor swimming pools with leisure facilities in the world. A total terrace area of no less than 750 m2, ensures that swimmers can enjoy an après-swim drink with a magnificent view over the MAS, the port and the new projects at Antwerp Docklands. In 2013, the Red Star Line Museum will open opposite the Badboot.
- Nearly the same length as an Olympic size swimming pool: including the paddling pool, the Badboot pool is 40 metres in length and therefore offers exceptional swimming facilities to visitors. Swimmers seem to dive into the dock of Antwerp Dockland’s Kattendijkdok, providing a unique experience.
- A feat of 6 months: ‘Building such a gigantic project in half a year is quite a challenge’, says Martin Seine of shipbuilders HSS. ‘This project is by far the most extraordinary project we have ever worked on.’ The construction of the boat started on 1 February 2012. Everything has to be completed at the start of August. At the moment we are right on schedule.
- 100% Antwerp Steel: all the steel is supplied by ASS, the Antwerp Steel Services nv. The vessel is built as an integrated structure in Maasbracht in the Netherlands by the HSS yard and on completion will return to Belgium.
- The original ferry - which will connect the brand new Badboot to the quayside - was built in 1964. ‘We wanted to emphasise the authentic maritime character of the ferry’, says architect Pieter Peerlings. ‘For example, right now, the original wheelhouse or bridge is being converted into a cocktail bar. By the way, we found a coin from 1964 on the MV Antoon van Dijck, so we are planning to conceal a coin anno 2012 in the Badboot. Traditions are there to be honoured’, he laughs”
The people behind Badboot
Co-owner Philip De Prest is managing director of V-Zit bvba, the organisation that will launch the Badboot jointly with the City of Antwerp. De Prest has been a consultant to Richard Branson’s Virgin Group since 2000 and was the global managing director of Virgin Drinks until last year. In the past he stood at the cradle of the Kidibul concept for Stassen and also conceived the Kriek Primeur fruit beers for Interbrew at the relaunch of the Belle-Vue brand. In the late nineties he was also the driving force behind the successful turnaround of mineral water and soft drinks brand Chaudfontaine. In 2005, he founded V-Zit, the company behind successful cruising projects such as Festina Lente, a market-leading luxury vessel, for hire in Antwerp. Sailing in Mechelen is also possible on the Binnen-Dijle or to Planckendael with the V-Zit Malinska boats.
Architect Pieter Peerlings of Sculp(IT) Architects, known for the narrowest house in Antwerp, designed the entire construction of the Badboot together with his business partner Silvia Mertens. ‘Philip De Prest of V-Zit and I immediately clicked’, says Peerlings about the collaboration. ‘The City of Antwerp commissioned a ship with the only condition that it covered an area of 120 by 25 metres and incorporate a swimming pool. For the rest we had carte blanche. We won the pitch and from then on we had to turn our plans into reality. The starting point was the existing ferryboat which Philip De Prest absolutely wanted to use for the project. I have always been fascinated by the maritime world and Sculp(IT) wanted to create a modern, minimalist vessel that was ecologically sound and appeared to integrate seamlessly with the surrounding docks. In addition it had to have extra facilities for the public to enjoy. The result from all this is the Badboot.’
The HSS shipyard in the Netherlands, led by Martin Seine, met Philip De Prest three years ago when they built MV Likamboté for V-Zit. The time to construct a gigantic and high quality vessel such as the Badboot was pretty tight, but HSS took on the challenge with success.
Leisure pool specialist S&R, run by Jan de Wit, is the leading expert in building and running swimming pools in Belgium. The company acted as a consultant during the entire construction process of the Badboot.
Badboot Vastgoed bvba is a group of private investors who believe in this unique concept and looks after the financing of this million euro project.
The timeline to the opening in August:
- February: start of construction.
- April: completion of the first 60 metres of the boat.
- June: completion of the second section followed by welding the two sections together and launch into the water.
- July: laying the floors and fitting out the interior.
- August: arrival of the Badboot in the Port of Antwerp, ready for the opening
Sustainable luxury: the ecological Badboot
A large scale luxury project such as the Badboot proves that luxury need not damage the environment. On the contrary, the Badboot combines comfort with ecology and utilises the latest technologies to this effect:
- Reedbed water purification: the Badboot has an on-board reedbed that purifies water – to begin with, this is the first actively ventilated outdoor purification bed on the European continent. But here too, care for the environment goes hand in hand with an attractive appearance: the entire reedbed has been equipped with designer lighting which provides a spectacular panoramic view from the restaurant.
- Thermal insulation concept: Storing water in the pool utilises the same concept as a thermos flask. There is a large buffering hold below the pool which is empty by day but fills up in the evening with the water from the swimming pool. This stops the water from evaporating while it stays warm in the buffer, resulting in huge saving in terms of water and energy.
- Re-use: the complete restoration of an existing ferry gives added value to part of the coolest project in Antwerp.
- LED lighting: almost all areas are illuminated by LED lights which use up to less than half the energy.
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